Canada’s top marathons

Looking to do a marathon in Canada but can’t pick out the one for you? We take a peek at the country’s top courses so you can select the right race to accomplish your 42.2 km.

The country’s top courses
Marathon runners

Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Scotiabank’s Toronto Marathon is one of two marathons held in the province’s capital, but what makes the Waterfront Marathon stand apart is its incredibly flat route. The race course spends the majority of the first half along Lakeshore Boulevard, which is a wide road along the edge of Lake Ontario. This makes for a calm, flat run. Unfortunately there aren’t a ton of viewing points along sections of the run, so be sure to put some quality tunes on your iPod for those quiet moments. The race takes place in mid-October, which makes for perfect running weather most years.

Ottawa Marathon

Although the Ottawa Marathon has a few more hills than Toronto’s marathon, it is by no means an overly hilly course. And the route takes you through plenty of exciting neighbourhoods and scenic spaces, so there’s always something to help take your mind off any pain your body is experiencing. But what makes Ottawa a truly great race is the people. Generally speaking, the city is a very active one. Many people walk, run, bike or even skate along the canal to get to work on a daily basis, so the majority of citizens are happy to have the race take place. This makes for a very positive and encouraging environment — not to mention a superbly sized cheering squad! Eric from Toronto, who took part in the race in 2011, does admit, however, that the merging of the half marathon and the full marathon at the finish line does mean you might cross the line with more people than you would in a marathon that runs on its own. But if you don’t mind a little company as you near the end, give the Ottawa Marathon a try!

Edmonton Marathon

The Edmonton Marathon has the rare benefit of being at the end of August, which tends to make for excellent running weather. The course is relatively flat and runs along the Saskatchewan River, which gives you a nice mixture of scenic views, downtown sections and residential areas. The fact it’s a little smaller than some of Canada’s other big city marathons and offers nice conditions make it a great opportunity for you to score a personal best time.

Mount Robson Marathon

If you aren’t afraid of a challenge and are in it more for the experience than to get a best time or to qualify for another race, such as Boston or New York, then the Mount Robson Marathon may be for you. It’s actually a few kilometer longer than a traditional marathon, and offers some serious hills that might have you requiring walking breaks. But whether you’re walking or running, you’ll have the unique experience of going along the famous Berg Lake Trail, which will have you enjoying the views of forests, lakes, mountains and more.

More on running

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Barefoot running: Should you try it?
Find the right running route for you

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